I continue to be disappointed by extremely flat loaves.
The bread itself tastes good and I definitely see oven spring, but I’m not seeing a lot of rise during the ferment periods and no matter how shapely and firm the dough is after handling, it slumps like oleo on a warm day after about fifteen minutes of rest.
I checked the recipe formula: Pain au levain from Bread Cetera. Looks like I’m not the only one with slumping loaves, but the formula is correct. I weigh everything carefully using an electronic scale. As far as kneading goes, I’m seeing good gluten development. Even at its stickiest, the dough is strong enough to be peeled off smooth surfaces without tearing, even with a lot of stretching.
I have been more careful about feeding my starter… 1:1 ratio by weight instead of “eyeballing” it. Starter still looked pretty liquid, though.
I tried cooler temperatures (70F instead of 80F) for both my starter and the ferment periods. Slight improvement.
I tried longer ferment periods. Not sure if that did anything, still not seeing the dough doubling.
I made some pizza with it, the first time trying to bake the pizza directly on the baking stone. The dough stretched beautifully (and hugely!) The part of the pizza that didn’t land cheese-side down on the stone was delicious. I’ll use the screen next time, set on top of the stone, and practice loading bread with the peel for a while before I try that again.
Now I’ve gotten rid of almost all of my awfully liquid starter and started feeding it 1:1 again, hoping to fix the problem. As of the second feeding, it’s a great deal thicker than it was before the reboot, but still smells sourdough-ish.
We shall see what happens next. I’m almost out of bread again, so it should be soon.